Blame physics for the misery of watching the Brickyard 400

Even cars bursting into flames didn’t energize the “crowd” for the Brickyard 400.

It’s not like NASCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are conspiring to bore us every July.  They don’t want the Brickyard 400 to suck any more than we do.

But it does, and watching it rewards only our ability to endure tedium.

Six hours and nine minutes.  That’s how long it took yesterday’s Brickyard 400 from green flag to checkers.  That’s a long time for any car to traverse 400 miles.  Going a steady 80 mph on the interstate, I can get through 400 miles in an hour and nine minutes less.

Okay, there was a 1:47 rain delay, but still.

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In the hopes that the problem with the Brickyard 400’s dwindling attendance is the heat, organizers are moving the race  to the second Sunday in September beginning next year.

Sadly, it’s the quality of the racing and not the heat keeping even hearty race fans home, and attendance might actually drop because the second Sunday in September is also opening weekend for the Indianapolis Colts and the NFL.

The problem with the Brickyard 400 is the racing.  The banking at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is at a near flat nine-degrees, and the cars are engineered to corner on super speedways with banking at 30-35 degrees, as is the case at Daytona and Talladega.

The straightaways on some NASCASR tracks bank at more than nine degrees.

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Concerts, creativity, and cooler weather can’t change physics, and the physics at the IMS causes racing that is painful to sit through.

The Brickyard is broken, and nothing short of a redesign of the most hallowed circuit in auto racing will fix it.

And that will never happen because it’s perfect for the Indy 500, which attracts roughly eight times the “crowd” for the Brickyard.

Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at

6 thoughts on “Blame physics for the misery of watching the Brickyard 400

  1. Joe large

    Kent two quick things.
    What were the stages for? Did they rack up points for them? They just didn’t race for 400 miles did they?

    What about changing to a “road course” race. They have some on Nascar, maybe they could do that here as well.?

    Thanks, Joe

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Anything is better than 160 laps in 6:09. The stages are a mystery. What they do and mean is anyone’s guess.

  2. ethan donahue

    I think your math is a little off there. If u went 400 miles in just over an hour, youd be going near enough 400 mph, not 80.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      Your reading comprehension is off. I can drive 400 miles in an hour and nine minutes LESS than the race took.

  3. Joel

    There is no where to post this, but where is the fan base for Indy cars outside of the 500? I don’t know how that series/league stays afloat.

    1. Kent Sterling Post author

      It would be interesting to get a look at the business plan for IndyCar. Not sure where the cash comes from or where it goes.


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